gist

When you need a quick summary of the essentials, rather than the whole story or a thorough explanation, you're looking for the gist.

The word gist has had a variety of meanings in English, but most of them have become obsolete. The surviving sense of the word entered the language by way of the law: The gist of any legal action is the factor on which the action depends — that is, an alleged assault might be the gist of an indictment. The meaning of gist has evolved, though, and now it can be used to describe the core component of any matter, as in, "He watched the trailer, but he still didn't get the gist of the movie." Or, "She was having trouble writing a headline that conveyed the gist of her article."

Definitions of gist
  1. noun
    the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
    synonyms: burden, core, effect, essence
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    type of:
    import, meaning, significance, signification
    the message that is intended or expressed or signified
  2. noun
    the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    “the gist of the prosecutor's argument”
    synonyms: center, centre, core, essence, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, pith, substance, sum
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    types:
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    bare bones
    (plural) the most basic facts or elements
    hypostasis
    (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
    haecceity, quiddity
    the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
    quintessence
    the purest and most concentrated essence of something
    stuff
    a critically important or characteristic component
    type of:
    cognitive content, content, mental object
    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
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